The National Flood Insurance Program: Challenges and Reforms


Cameron O’Kelly (Editor)

Series: Natural Disaster Research, Prediction and Mitigation, Economic Issues, Problems and Perspectives
BISAC: TEC009130

In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused widespread flood-related property damage in coastal areas of states throughout the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic region. The storm exposed vulnerabilities in the region’s public transportation and infrastructure and underscored the nation’s growing exposure to extreme weather events, sea-level rise, and coastal flooding. Although the full economic cost of Sandy will not be known for years, the storm has resulted in substantial federal disaster recovery assistance, including tens of billions for flood and hurricane protection and coastal restoration, and the rebuilding of mass transit systems and housing. Government payouts under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are estimated to be between $12 billion and $15 billion in flood insurance claims.

In the immediate aftermath of Sandy, this amount quickly exceeded the $4 billion in cash and remaining borrowing authority from the Treasury Department. By January 2013, the NFIP had processed more than 140,000 claims for Sandy-related damages totaling about $1.7 billion. To protect the financial integrity of the NFIP and ensure that the NFIP has the financial resources to cover its existing commitments following the devastation caused by Sandy, the Obama Administration requested that Congress pass legislation to increase the NFIP’s borrowing authority. On January 4, 2013, Congress passed, and the President two days later signed into law, H.R. 41 to provide a $9.7 billion increase in the NFIP’s borrowing authority, from $20.725 billion to $30.425 billion, to pay flood claims related to Hurricane Sandy. This book provides an analysis of flood risk management, summarizes major challenges facing the NFIP, and outlines key reforms enacted in the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The report identifies and presents some key remaining flood management issues for congressional consideration, and concludes with a discussion of policy options for the future financial management of flood hazards in the United States. (Imprint: Novinka )


Table of Contents

Table of Contents


The National Flood Insurance Program: Status and Remaining Issues for Congress
(Rawle O. King, CRS)

Flood Insurance: Implications of Changing Coverage Limits and Expanding Coverage


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